The Mancunion

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Interview: Lower Than Atlantis

Eddy Thrower, drummer from Lower Than Atlantis, discusses the band’s new direction in their latest album release

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I was given the opportunity, despite the technical hitch due to Storm Doris and her effect on telephone lines, to interview Eddy Thrower, the drummer for Lower Than Atlantis.

The band has produced five albums, their first being in 2010, so I was pushed for original questions. Hoping to get an impression on their future prospects I asked about where the band expects to see themselves after their tour. Although he couldn’t divulge much, Thrower did say: “Hopefully bigger and better things really” while also suggesting “new fans, bigger audiences and to travel across the world”. This can be heard in their music as the band appear to dip their toes into the ‘mainstream’, but is also one of the stronger criticisms against the album Safe In Sound that was released early February this year.

Keeping with the theme of easy questions, Eddy told me his favourite song from the new album was ‘Had Enough’ which took him no time to answer: “It defines everything about LTA: heaviness and the electronic side and the groove.” As it opens the album it would make sense that it attempts to set the mood of their new release, although looking at other reviews older fans are disappointed by the band’s new direction. Their first album, Far Q was categorised as hardcore punk music, however in time with the development of the band they are what Spotify would define as ‘melodic indie rock’ maybe even pushing the boundaries to pop in the catchy, if a little repetitive, first song of Safe In Sound.

Before I properly broached the topic of their ‘new’ genre I wanted to ask about the practical method of creating their music. Out of pure interest I wanted to know if Eddy was ever technically challenged by their songs but he answered: “They don’t really test me, I don’t have to think or practice.” His response took an interesting turn as to my mind he started to confirm the allegations that the band is now trying to aim for arenas with the music they produce. He admitted that he was challenged in some way because, “you want to cater to everyone, especially non-drummers, you want to write parts that are digestible to larger audiences, not necessarily the skilled drummers in their mum’s bedroom.”

Eddy, while playing for Lower Than Atlantis, also has done session work for One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer but he has clearly been able to retain his distinctive style of playing despite the challenges made against the new album. Describing the process of creating the new album Eddy explained that “we didn’t really care about indie, rock, metal, pop, on the last album we wrote music and things stuck so we know what works for us” defining the classic style as “the heavy songs with the pop chorus”. However he also maintained that “you’ve got to be original, music is so throwaway these days, you have to have your own thing, you can’t constantly adapt to what’s cool.”

Bouncing off his use of the word ‘cool’ I pushed to ask about their song ‘Boomerang’ which has been pigeoned as the one to pull in the masses. I’ve seen articles use the phrase ‘engineered for the airwaves’ so I was intrigued to see how Eddy would respond. “It sounds different, it’s mainly electronic, it wasn’t like ‘we need a song for these people’ ‘we need a song like Boomerang to get us on the radio’, it doesn’t happen like that, it’s a natural thing and we hope people are into it.” At this point I should say that I really enjoy the album so, while I can understand the criticisms, it is also fair-game to the band to want to get their music heard by a wider audience.

Possibly again touching on a soft spot for the band I brought up the comments about their polished new sound. Eddy responded saying: “If it had rock drums in it, it wouldn’t be different, just because it has electric drums, it has a few synths instead of a guitar, and people assume it’s a completely different world apart.” While what he said was true I couldn’t help but question it; surely the instruments make up a strong part of the identity of a genre? Although, he did continue to say, “a song is a song and that’s what people forget, especially in the rock world, you’re limited in what you can do, people have really stubborn opinions about things that are different, they don’t listen to the song, they just listen to the instruments and it’s kind of frustrating.”

As a final note he added “You’ve just got to be you and not get caught up in what’s ‘rock’ and what’s ‘pop’, if it’s a good song, it’s a good song and if it’s shit, it’s shit!”